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Indians put their season in rookie Danny Salazar’s hands

Sep 30, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT

Cleveland Indians' Salazar pitches during MLB American League baseball game against Toronto Blue Jays in Cleveland Reuters

As the Indians wait to find out their opponent for the Wild Card game Wednesday they announced that rookie Danny Salazar will start the win-or-go-home game.

Salazar made just 10 starts during the regular season, but the 23-year-old right-hander had incredible strikeout numbers in the minors before being called up and posted a 3.12 ERA with an excellent 65/15 K/BB ratio in 52 innings for the Indians while averaging 95.9 miles per hour with his fastball.

Justin Masterson likely would have gotten the assignment if not for his having to work his way back from an injury and the Indians needed to start the more experienced Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir over the weekend to secure the playoff spot.

  1. proudlycanadian - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    The downside is that Salazar has pitched just 52 innings in those 10 MLB starts and has only gone over 6 innings just once. There will be a lot of pressure on Cleveland’s bullpen.

    • emdash01 - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      It’d odd that they didn’t save Jiminez for the playoff game – granted, they needed every game to get in, but they were facing the Twins without Joe Mauer. I’d give Salazar pretty good odds to win there.

    • Old Gator - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      …and with Chris Perez laboring mightily after being deprived of his weed, and having to spend a small fortune negotiating that plea bargain for his dog, the prospects for the Indians fire brigade aren’t great either.

      • jcmeyer10 - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        Thank you for allowing me to play out Buster vs the State of Ohio in my head. Something tells me Chris Perez representing his dog would be hilarious. Hilarious that it’s so bad it’s funny.

      • yahmule - Sep 30, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        His name is Brody and he’s getting railroaded.

    • thomas844 - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      That’s why it’s good that they have Masterson out of the bullpen just in case.

    • Kevin Gillman - Sep 30, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      Salazar has been taken off his leash now though, and should last 6 innings, with Masterson probably going 1, maybe 2 innings, Joe Smith will be available, Cody Allen, Scrabble. I think the pitching will be fine. The offense though needs to score early, and control the game.

  2. takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    They have limited his innings all year for this exact situation. He had TJ a couple years ago. Most, if not all his starts were not short due to performance, but due to caution, and he left with the lead in most of them, and not in trouble. Not sure if Tito will let him go in this game or not, but the Tribe will have Kluber and McCallister in the pen if needed, plus Kazmir would possibly be able to give them a few innings. This kid will be fine.

  3. cur68 - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    If people haven’t seen Salazar pitch before, they are in for a bit of an eye opener. He’s pretty good: has an outstanding fastball which he follows with a terrific change up. He can also throw a slider, but its the probably the pitch they stay away from since its clearly not that polished. However he’s got about 10mph difference in speeds between Change & FB with his FB touching 97mph. He is not chicken feed. He’ll be good for twice through the lineup, maybe 2.5 times if he’s getting some calls. If he can get that slider working he’s going to be devastating. Should be a good game.

  4. jbriggs81 - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    This is the type of game that I look forward to with the new wild card playoffs. Its awesome to see a young kind make a big time start like this!

  5. markjames23 - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    Salazar has electric swing and miss stuff that neither the Rays nor the Rangers have seen before. He also has the poise to go out and win a big game. He never seems phased on the mound. With his leash off, I see no reason for him to go out and dominate. Our offense needs to back him.

    • markjames23 - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      not to dominate*

      Damn edit function.

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